“The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the gospel if it stopped being … a defender of the rights of the poor … a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society …”
( ― Oscar Romero )
Friends in Justice,
Oscar Romero was a Catholic archbishop in El Salvador who was an outspoken advocate for human rights and challenging systemic structures of poverty. Forty-two years ago, on March 24, 1980 he was assassinated by right-wing gunmen while giving mass in a hospital chapel. Subsequently beatified as a saint by the Catholic church, Pope Francis declared that Romero’s “ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalized.” Romero spoke passionately about the church’s prophetic calling – even at the risk of life – to hear the cry of the oppressed and denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the conditions from which the cry arises. Although “we cannot do everything,” Romero said, ”we can do something – it may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter…”
Monday was the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The United Church made a commitment to becoming an anti-racist church in 2020, and the church’s anti-racism policy dates back to 2000. Though the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is one day, it is important that every day we take action against racism, in every way we can. Here are some resources:
United Church Mission & Service partners are responding to the rapidly unfolding crisis in Ukraine. To donate through the national church, check out this link.
This past Sunday, Kamloops United Church had Dr. Saha Kondrashov speak at the morning worship service. Dr. Kondrashov was born in Lviv. He is associate Professor, School of Social Work and Human Service with the Faculty of Education and Social Work at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. The service focused on prayers for Ukraine and also what we can for Ukrainians, in Ukraine, those who have fled to neighbouring countries and those who are arriving in Canada. View the service on Youtube at this link.
All United Church members (and friends!) in the Lower Mainland are invited to join the Vigil for the Silenced – calling for a “just recovery” from Covid-19, a “just transition” to a Green Economy, a “just resolution” to the political violence, and a “just livable income” for any and all struggling with income insecurities.
Saturday, April 9, 2022, 12pm Pacific / 1pm Mountain (West Georgia and Burrard in front of Christ Church Cathedral)
National Affirming PIE Day – Everyone Gets a Slice!
On Monday March 14th lovers of PIE (Publically, Intentionally, Explicitly 2S & LGBTQIA+ Affirming) gathered on the street around Kamloops United Church. Dozens of homemade tarts with an Affirming message were delivered into the hands of passers-by. Supporters waved their Pride flags enthusiastically while singing along to ditties accompanied by our camo and rainbow-boa clad music director. The Kamloops United Church unicorn danced their way down the street and into the hearts of all! Thank you everyone!!!!
Last year, KUC celebrated 25 years as an affirming faith community! It was the second affirming community in the United Church of Canada.
Take part in the United Church campaign to get 10,000 Canadian signatures on the international petition calling for an end to the war in Korea. Go to the campaign webpage and sign the petition yourself and invite your friends and church to sign.
Caging Childhood: Palestinian Children in Israel’s Miliary Detention System
An online screening of ‘Caging Children:Palestinian Children in Israel’s Military Detention System’ followed by a debriefing and question and answer with Shaina Low, the Advocacy Officer with Defense of Children International: Palestine. We will then take some time in small groups to write letters to our Member of Parliament (MP).
Central Okanagan United Church & Wild Church Okanagan
Details and registration at this link
Sponsored by the Urban Indigenous Circle, Chinook Winds Region and Pacific Mountain Region
This year we examine Lent through the lens of our Indigenous Elders. 50 years ago the Elders of the Indian Ecumenical Conference gathered from across Turtle Island, including many from the US, Central America and beyond. During this time, Traditional Spiritual Leaders, Wisdom Keepers, Elders, Indigenous Clergy and our ecumenical partners in the United Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Canada, Catholic Church and others attended to understand and demystify traditional Indigenous spiritual practices. The sharing of these Elders and Knowledge Keepers helped shape Indigenous advocacy, outreach and visions for reconciliation. We delve into their teachings to understand their vision for our current time.
Tuesdays through Lent, taking place at 6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain
Register at this link, Zoom details to follow.
Acknowledgement of Indigenous Territory WorkshopApril 27, 2022 7:00am Pacific, online
Antler River Watershed, Horseshoe Falls, Western Ontario Waterways regions are offering a practical workshop designed for individuals and communities of faith who are considering either starting a practice of acknowledgment of Indigenous territory in their worship and other activities, or would like to re-visit their current practice.register. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.We will follow a PowerPoint presentation developed by Rev. Matthew Stevens, which will introduce some key questions and considerations as you consider your acknowledgment of territory. Find out more, and
ALSO: UBC is running an event discussing the importance of Land Acknowledgements, with a panel of Indigenous speakers. It’s held April 12th, at 5:00pm Pacific. More details available here.
United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, 2022 Gathering
Location and speaker details, as well as registration, can be found at this link.
Save the Date!
This engaging, welcoming retreat is for those who consider themselves as part of the Queer Family! Gathering at Naramata Centre, we will connect with one another, with Creator, with the Land and with ourselves. We will celebrate this time as community with values of belonging, justice and love. We will rest, sing, run wild, play, create and share – just as we are, beautifully and wonderfully made by God.
Details here, and keep an eye out for many of Naramata’s wonderful events coming in the summer.
Emmanuel College’s Centre for Religion and Its Contexts, Trinity–St. Paul’s United Church, and the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics of The Institute for Christian Studies are hosting the third Christian Left Conference, August 5–6, 2022.
This year’s theme is “Creation, Land, and Indigeneity: Resistance on Turtle Island and Beyond.”
The conference is accepting paper submissions on a variety of topics related to the theme! More details and a link for submissions can be found here.
OPPORTUNITIES IN JUSTICE
Opportunities with the National Church
Ecumenical Accompanier – Palestine and Israel, 2022 & 2023
The United Church is looking for three people to serve as Ecumenical Accompaniers between November 2022 and December 2023, each for a period of three months. In this position, they accompany Palestinians and Israelis who work in nonviolent ways for peace, and people in Palestine and Israel navigating daily routines, often under duress.
More details about the position of Ecumenical Accompanier, as well as the application process, can be found at this link.
Korea Peace Encounter with Young Adults from Korea, United States and Canada
The national church is looking for young adults aged 18-30 to participate in the Korea-US-Canada Young Adult Peace-Making Workshops. More details about this opportunity here.
Ecological Justice Coordinator – KAIROS
KAIROS is seeking a dedicated, highly organized, Ecological Justice Coordinator to support and coordinate KAIROS’s environmental action work across the organization and throughout KAIROS’ networks. More details available here.
If you’re interested in the work of the Justice Ministries, we would love to hear from you. Have you come across articles and events in our community that you’d love to share? Please get your suggestions in by Thursday at noon to ensure they make it in the newsletter.